The Weekend Preview: Super Saturday and Beyond…
It’s gearing up to be a very busy weekend in the world of Eurovision. On Saturday, the second semifinal of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen will kick off, live from Göteborg (and more details on the competing songs can be found here. We’ll also see the second Lithuanian semifinal (but due to conflicting reports on the lineup of the event, I hesitate to post the competing songs). Most eyes, however, will likely be on one of the three National Finals that are to be held. We will get our official songs from Hungary, Norway, and Iceland before the day is out. Let’s take a look at the respective lineups one more time, shall we?Hungary‘s “A Dal” marked the country’s first time using a National Final system since 2008, and the first time ever that they utilized a multi-show format, incorporating semifinals into their selection process. In the Final, televoting will select four Superfinalists out of the eight competing songs, and the winner will be chosen by a professional jury.
To recap, the eight songs in the running are:
- Caramel – “Vizió“
- Compact Disco – “Sound of Our Hearts“
- Juli Fábián & Zoohacker – “Like A Child“
- Tibor (“Tibi”) Gyurcsík – “Back In Place“
- Gábor Heincz – “Learning To Let Go“
- The Királys – “Untried“
- Gabi Tóth – “Nem kell végszó“
- Mónika (“Nika”) Veres – “This Love“
Samantha’s pick: Out of these songs, only one is currently on my iPod: Compact Disco’s “Sound of Our Hearts”. It’s got rock and electronica blended in just the right balance; it’s anthemic, yet subtly so, and I think it would look brilliant performed in front of thousands, instead of just in front of a studio audience.
In Iceland, we’ll see the final of 2012’s “Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins” coming to us live from the Harpa Concert Hall, the country’s largest, which only opened in May of last year. We’ve seen a bit of shuffling around in the roster; rather than splitting her time between two entries, Greta Salóme has decided to back out of her collaboration with Heiða and Guðrún Árný, and focus solely on her duet with Jónsi.
- Heiða og Guðrún Árný – “Aldrei sleppir mér“
- Magni Ásgeirsson – “Hugarró“
- Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld – “Stund með þér“
- Simbi og Hrútspungarnir – “Hey“
- Regína Ósk – “Hjartað brennur“
- Blár Ópal – “Stattu upp“
- Greta Salóme og Jónsi – “Mundu eftir mér“
Samantha’s pick: There is something to be said for the thundering Nordic drama that is “Mundu eftir mér”, and I can imagine sipping a cocktail in a swanky lounge to the sound of “Stund með þér”, but I’ve made it no secret that this year my heart belongs to Magni. I have no idea if lyricist Thorunn Erna Clausen has alternate English words to “Hugarró” in her back pocket, but Magni could sing a Tokyo phone book to me and I’d be happy.
Norway‘s Melodi Grand Prix also wraps up today from the Spektrum Arena in Oslo, and we’ll see ten songs fighting it out for the chance to make it to Azerbaijan. Two rounds of voting will be held, including a “superfinal”. The songs are:
- Tooji – “Stay“
- Reidun Sæther – “High On Love“
- Lise Karlsnes – “Sailors“
- Plumbo – “Ola Nordmann“
- Malin – “Crush“
- Nora Foss al-Jabri – “Somewhere Beautiful“
- The Carburetors – “Don’t Touch The Flame“
- Petter Øien & Bobby Bare – “Things Change“
- Yaseen & Julie Maria – “Sammen“
- Tommy Fredvang – “Make It Better“
Samantha’s Pick: I can’t help but fall in love with Tooji (which goes against my defiant anti-Saade stance from last year), and I can see where Plumbo is coming from, but there’s something about “Things Change” that gets me smiling. I’m not a big fan of traditional country (yes, I’m American…but I listen to Eurovision, so stereotypes don’t apply here!), but there’s something about this one that just…works. I didn’t expect it to qualify from its semi, much less stand on top of the leaderboard for that week, so who knows what will happen?
The fun doesn’t stop there! Sunday will bring us the finals of Azerbaijan‘s Milli Seçim Turu, where we will figure out who will represent the Land of Fire on home turf. As per usual, we likely won’t see the actual song that will be performed; İctimai has a habit of keeping us all in suspense for at least a little while longer. Monday sees the Semifinal of Germany’s “Unser Star für Baku”, where we’ll see the Final Four winnowed down to two singers, in preparation for Thursday’s Final. And this Tuesday, we’ll see the National Final for Belarus as well as the first night of the San Remo Festival in Italy. Buckle your seatbelts, everyone…it’s about to get a bit crazy!